Breathing Space

BY David Doig Foundation

The David Doig Foundation is pleased to support Karele for the first time as the funding for this project will support young people to better engage in education.

Karele is a registered charity operating in Haddington, East Lothian which provides Equine Facilitated Activities and Learning (EFAL) to children, young people, and adults.  The project – Breathing Space – will work with 2 primary schools to provide an additional curriculum for children who are having difficulties and cannot engage full-time in mainstream curriculum. 

Breathing Space is an early intervention programme that educates using EFAL. The programme will aim to provide a pathway of personal development, re-engagement with education, and mentoring, helping young people reach their potential. Using interaction with horses to support young people's development. The method is based on the connection and bond between humans and animals, specifically horses, who can interact based on emotion rather than verbally. The horses are able to interact with the young people taking part and respond to human moods in a non-judgmental way, without motive or expectations. As the young person bonds with the horse over the course of the sessions, self-awareness grows which can support emotional healing and the ability to move forward.

Children will use the charity’s own Karele Achievement Tracker (KAT) sheets to set goals and record their progress. This also helps young people feel they have control of their learning journey.

A small pilot programme with one of the primary schools exceeded expectations, with positive results in confidence, self-esteem, happiness, and re-engaging in school.

Karele expects that the Breathing Space programme will make a lasting positive change for the expected 18 young people taking part. By tailoring the delivery to the individual needs of each participant they expect to see motivational, educational, and recreational and/or therapeutic benefits, as well as increased confidence and self-efficacy, and improvement in school engagement. All of these will improve the quality of life and the future pathways of the young people taking part. 

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